“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” said Anne of Green Gables, and we couldn’t agree more. October brings all sorts of magic with it’s fallen leaves and cinnamon cider, apples, bulbous gourds, and woolly sweaters. Check out some other options below for even more fun, too! Your kids can learn to juggle, watch an elephant squish a squash, celebrate the Pacific Northwest salmon, and the whole family can challenge each other to a pinball tournament! (don’t act like you don’t want to). Read on for all the October fun in Portland!

photo: vsp via flickr

1. Explore an Enchanted (or Haunted!) Trail

Join the community of West Linn on a walk through the forest on their magical trails! They offer two options for families looking for some fun: a Haunted Trail (recommended for children over age 8), or the Enchanted Trail for younger folk. They’ll meet storybook characters and be delighted by what they find deep in the forest, which can’t be said for the other trail…. Full of spooky monsters and things that go bump, the Haunted Trail is guaranteed to spark a scream! Boo!

Haunted Trail: $12.95/early bird special, $15/day-of
Enchanted Trail: $4/early bird special, $5/day-of, free for children under 3
Fri.-Sat., Oct. 27-28
7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Mary S. Young Park
19900 Willamette Dr.
West Linn, OR
Online: westlinnoregon.gov/

2. Juggling Festival

Jugglers unite! And enjoyers-of-jugglers, come forth! This free all weekend festival celebrates the art of juggling and performing and welcomes people new to the craft with plenty of workshops and training. Reed College offered juggling as a P.E. class starting in 1979, and now the Portland Jugglers meet every week to share skills and train (always free and open to the public). The festival kicks off the year with plenty of activities and a Juggling and Vaudeville Extravaganza Show on Saturday night. Wow your kids by learning some new tricks with them, then go see the pros do it!

Festival is free all weekend, Fri.-Sun.
Extravaganza: Sat., Sep. 30, Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
$18/adults, $12/students, $10/children 12 and under
Kaul Auditorium, Reed College
28th and Woodstock Ave.
Portland, OR
Online: portlandjugglers.org

photo : blm via flickr

3. Salmon Homecoming

Celebrate the fall in true Pacific Northwest style by learning about the annual return of the salmon. Portland Metro collaborates with the Native American community to offer cultural activities, education, and science, and some Really Cool Things to See. The all-ages event includes hot chocolate and cider around the campfire, salmon-viewing with naturalists at the water’s edge, walks honoring the cultural significance of the salmon and more, all in the 1,000 acres of old-growth forest at Oxbow Regional Park.3

Sat. Oct. 21 and Sun. Oct. 22
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oxbow Regional Park
3010 SE Oxbow Pkwy
Gresham, OR
Online: oregonmetro.gov/

4. Howloween at the Zoo

A ticket to the zoo on this day gets you all sorts of fun! Educational scavenger hunts and themed activities aim to teach kids about animals, habitats, and conservation. Kids can dress up and collect (deforestation-free) candy, treats, and prizes all across the zoo. Challenge your family to the scavenger hunt and see who can collect the most answers and prizes! Activities are best for ages 2-12, but all are welcome. On Friday, arrive early to watch the 10:30 a.m. Squishing of the Squash at the Elephant Lands: “in which some of the world’s largest land animals demolish some of the area’s largest pumpkins.”

Sat., Oct. 28
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Road
Portland, OR
Online: http://www.oregonzoo.org/events/howloween-saturday

Photo: temptationize via flickr

5. Retro Gaming Convention

All all-volunteer run expo that celebrates the games that once were! Bring your young gaming fans to play 30,000 square feet full of amazing arcade and pinball machines. It’s like a museum you can touch! Even more, they can watch tournaments, hear special guests and panel discussions on your own favorite games, parents, and best of all, attend a workshop with Pixel Arts Game Education on making your kid’s own game! Best. Weekend. Ever.

$12-$35/adults, with up to 2 free passes for children under 10 included for every adult
Oregon Convention Center
777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.
Portland, OR
Online: retrogamingexpo.com

What’s your favorite October treat? Tell us in the comments below!

—Katrina Emery